MadRiverWeb (MRW) encourages clients to allow us to administer their domains. MRW is a reseller of Tucows‘ wholesale unit OpenSRS. Whenever possible, we transfer registrations to Tucows. They are reliable and inexpensive, and real people can be contacted. They send a reminder 30 and 3 days prior to the renewal deadline, so it is virtually a fail-safe process. Our pricing is not the cheapest in town (but close), the system works, and it is my recommendation that the reliability and convenience is worth it. The range of prices I have seen (other than bait and switch introductory) is from $8.95 to $37.50 per year, and we are in the middle (see current pricing). A transfer to Tucows also adds an additional year to the registration; no time is lost.
Purchasing & Looking Up Domains
If you have not already purchased a domain, please let us do it for you. It is a multi-step process. We will eventually need to change the DNS information to reflect the hosting server address and have seen this step cost clients more when we have to coach them using another console (or when passwords have been lost or email addresses have changed) than if we did it ourselves.
Please also: do not look up desired domain names until ready to purchase (and again, please let us do it for you). Domain look-ups are monitored and there are firms that will unscrupulously buy attractive-sounding names speculatively in order to sell them for a higher price.
When MRW Manages Your Domain(s)
When MRW is designated the admin contact, specifically when the admin contact email address is ours, we take personal responsibility to make sure your domains stay current. When registered by us with Tucows, you will be invoiced by MRW.
Some people are concerned to have their website developer be the admin contact. If you work with a reputable firm, you should trust your website developer as much as you trust your accountant or attorney.
Currently, we charge a quarter-hour fee to renew a domain for our Basic hosting clients and clients who host with other services, and for all renewals less than five years. There is no labor charge (when renewed for five years or more) to clients who host with MadRiverWeb at the Standard and Premium levels. We have been processing all renewals for five years at a time for clients who seem to have a solid ongoing business, unless otherwise specified. The five year (or more) renewal has the added benefit of helping search utility placement.
When You Manage Your Domain(s)
If we did not register your domain(s) for you, it is important to keep a record of your login information (a username and password) so that you may administer your domain. It is also important that you are the registrant, not a previous developer that may have registered it for you. We recommend that you use our email address for the admin contact so that we may handle this for you, but make sure it is either your email address or ours, no-one else’s.
Keep your contact information up-to-date. If you change email addresses, change your domain name registration(s) to reflect the new address so you will have the continued ability to respond to inquiries or confirmations. Note: registrars are now locking domains for 60 days after contact information change for your protection, however, this also stalls movement. If your domain registrar has an auto-renewal feature, make sure your credit card does not expire. I have had clients lose domains because they either didn’t follow through on renewal or they changed email addresses and were unreachable for renewal. I have also had clients pay highway robbery to redeem domains from the pending-deletion status.
Please make note if you have domains that are not registered and managed by MRW. You have been and will continue to be responsible for their renewal unless you contact us and request assistance.
Domain Transfer or DNS Change
If you have moved your hosting or have a domain for which the DNS needs to be changed, there are a couple approaches.
If you know your login and wish to continue managing your own domain name, you can change the DNS as your host requests. Check first to see if the domain needs to be unlocked and do so. If hosting with us, check with us for proper pointing.
OR, if you wish for us to manage your domain, change the admin email contact to domains “at” madriverweb.com (using the regular syntax with the @ symbol). We can then transfer the domain to the registrar that we use and change the DNS ourselves. Remember to make this change 60+ days ahead of desired movement.
If making a DNS change on a domain registered with Network Solutions, it would be best to have us do it with your login. Understand also that domain movement is frozen within a time window around renewal and in certain circumstances when contacts have been updated.
Voluntary Domain Expiration
If you wish to allow one or more of your domain names to expire, seriously consider this: Services, including some porn websites, seeking the traffic that your non-renewed domain(s) will continue to deliver will purchase them speculatively. Domains are cheap. We strongly recommend that you renew at least one more year but no longer point the domain(s) toward your website—a DNS change we can provide for you. A non-performing domain is much less desirable for other services to grab when it does expire.
Many of you have received solicitations in the postal mail to renew your domains (or to not miss an SEO opportunity), often generating confusion and alarm. I have seen solicitations come from the following firms:
- Domain Registry of America
- Liberty Names of America
These solicitations are often called “Domain (or SEO) Expiration Notices.” I have even seen them come after a domain has already been renewed. They are sent by postal mail so that the “less informed” may accidentally make payment. The intention is to “hijack” the domain to this new registrar. By paying them, you are providing authorization to move your domain name to a different registration company. In reality, though, since your domain is likely locked, this simply results in a payment for no resultant service. Look carefully in these “offers” or “notices” for the word(s) “solicitation” or “this is not a bill.”
For the Technically Inclined
You can review your registration at any Whois including the Domain Tools Whois. Note who the admin contact is. This is the person responsible for renewal and any other updates. The admin and/or owner email address(es) will receive a renewal notification, depending on the policy of different registrars.
To complete the process of moving a domain, confirmation and an authorization code are required from the administrative contact.
In the above “hijacking” scenario, since the admin contact would not likely authorize the transfer, nor would we want to move the domain away from our chosen service, you would be faced with seeking reimbursement. If any problems existed with your current registration, such as an incorrect email address, you could also be faced with losing your domain if the transfer was not confirmed and the domain was not renewed at the current registrar, regardless of having paid the new firm.
If in doubt, check with us first or look it up yourself using the Whois link above. You may find that the domain has already been renewed by us.
Other variations of solicitation have been observed, some seeking to assist in preventing third parties from registering domains similar to yours. Again, if in doubt, ask us.
This page updated 12/9/22.